Printing in the new normal Since Covid-19 changed our world, applications are shifting away from corporate office servers and users work much more from home and satellite offices. The print architecture must adapt to this new way of working as the Cloud becomes its center. Using a print management solution hosted on a VM or server inside the company intranet becomes less relevant in the “New Normal”. Smoke is not even a small Cloud A print cloud solution can only be trusted when there is no independent environment (no VM, no gateway) and the whole solution relies on APIs. Most current Print Management solutions are on-premises server-based solutions that merely extend their reach to the cloud by interfacing with some Cloud API. What they lack is an agent inside the printer able to communicate directly with the cloud and display print release menus. They still use costly gateway on premises. Several printer vendors propose their own flavor of cloud-based print management, but many clients prefer a vendor-agnostic solution for investment protection reasons. Mission-critical service When a printer or MFP includes a complete print management solution, it will cover at least the user ID, PIN or card, rights management, pull printing and usage tracking. High Availability is necessary to handle cloud connection issues and require solutions agents to be running inside the printers (Edge Computing), not requiring any local PC or server.
The revolution in 2021 Is anything changing in the slow-motion office printing industry? Yes, a revolution more than an evolution and it is Universal Print from Microsoft, a fully comprehensive, ambitious print infrastructure targeting companies using Microsoft 365 cloud and software developers. Universal Print manages the overall security, the communication protocol between printers and the cloud, the spooling, and the availability of the print queues in Windows 10. It offers access to the native printer capabilities such as duplex, paper tray, stapling, punching and more and thus the “Universal” in the product name. With Universal Print, it is now possible to propose true cloud-based print management, with just printers, Microsoft 365, and Windows 10 client PCs which results in a pure cloud architecture. When Microsoft releases Universal Print, clients will be able to migrate their print management to cloud, benefit from out-of-the-box basic “click & print” capabilities and complement it with innovative Celiveo solutions using APIs. Differentiating smoke from cloud, identifying true extensions to Universal Print, or sound architecture will be necessary, as the choice of the right tools for a smooth full and true cloud migration is key.